English regions start to outpace house price growth in London

Taylor Scott International News

House price growth in the South East and East Anglia has overtaken London for the first time in four and a half years, according to the latest index covering England and Wales. Overall, across England and Wales, house price growth picked up on a monthly basis in April, climbing 0.2% but the annual rate of property price growth has halved since last summer, down to 5.3% in April. The data from the LSL index shows that the average house price is now £275,961, a new high for this year and excluding London the annual growth is 4.1%. The data also shows that in the first quarter of the year sales were down 10% but the firm expects that to change as the political uncertainty that affected the market in the run up to the general election disappears. ‘Annual price growth is still cooling, but mainly due to some recent negative monthly price rises. The direction of travel is clear and accelerating and most importantly, momentum is picking up where it was lacking before,’ said Richard Sexton, director of e.surv chartered surveyors. ‘By contrast, annual price rises in London have fallen sharply. As a result, the capital has been knocked off its perch by the South East and East Anglia, who have now edged ahead of London with the strongest year on year increase in property values of all regions across the country, at 7.1% and 6.9% respectively. In contrast, annual growth in London has shrunk from 9% in February to just 6.8% in March 2015,’ he pointed out. ‘This is the first time for nearly four and a half years that London has not been leading the pack in terms of regional house price growth, as higher stamp duty rates take some of the shine off high end properties in prime central areas,’ he added. The data shows, for example, that in the City of Westminster, where the average property is now worth £1,382,965, prices dropped 5.2% during the month of March, as pre-election speculation of a mansion tax put a dampener on enthusiasm for the most exclusive London homes. London also saw the sharpest decline in completed home sales between the first quarter of 2015 and the same period a year ago, falling 16.5%. ‘Election uncertainty has now vanished, so arguably London’s unique property market could see a fresh boost. But this mansion tax effect is one for the very top of the market. Away from the prime hotspots, affordability is still the biggest factor holding back further price rises and owning a London home is still more of a dream than even an aspiration for millions,’ said Sexton. ‘The head start that the housing market in London has traditionally exercised over the rest of the UK is retreating, and more of an even playing field is emerging instead. Average property values also hit new highs in greater Manchester and Birmingham, as demand in… Continue reading →

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